H 421, Ch. 3, h 1
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from Isma‘il ibn Marrar who has said the following "Al-Hassan ibn al-‘Abbass al-Ma‘rufi wrote to Imam al-Rida (a.s.). "May Allah take my soul in service for your cause, explain to me the difference between the messengers, the prophets and the Imams." The Imam said or wrote, " The difference between the messengers, the prophets and the Imams is that a messenger is one to whom Jibril (Gabriel) comes. He sees Jibril and hears his speech and Jibril (the angel) brings him (Divine) revelation and sometimes he may see in his dream like the dream of Abraham (a.s.). A prophet is one who may hear the speech and may see the person or may not hear. The Imam is the one who hears the speech but does not see the person."
H 422, Ch. 3, h 2
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from al-Hassan ibn Mahbub from al-Ahwal who has said the following.
"I Asked abu Ja‘far (a.s.) about the messenger, the prophet and al-Muhaddith (one who reports Divine guidance)." The Imam (a.s.) said, "A messenger is one to whom Jibril (angel) comes openly he sees him (the angel) and speaks to him. Such person is a messenger. A prophet is one who sees in his dream something like the dream of Abraham (a.s.) or the dream of our Prophet (s.a.) about reasons for prophethood before the coming of revelation until Jibril came from Allah with to inform him that he was to be a messenger. In the case of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.) when prophethood was established in him then Jibril brought him the message that he was to be a messenger. Jibril would come and speak to him openly. Some of the prophets in whom prophethood is established they see in their dreams, the spirit comes to them, speaks and reports to them but they do not see the spirit when awake. Al-Muhaddith is one to who is reported to and he hears the reporting but does not see openly or in his dream."
H 423, Ch. 3, h 3
Ahmad ibn Muhammad and Muhammad ibn Yahya have narrated from Muhammad ibn al-Husayn from Ali ibn Hassan from Faddal from Ali ibn Ya'qub al-Hashimi from Marwan ibn Muslim from Burayd who has said the following.
"I asked abu Ja‘far (a.s.) about the words of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, "Satan would try to tamper with the desires of every Prophet or Messenger or Muhaddith (Muhaddith is a commentary of Imam (a.s.), whom We sent . . .’" (22:52). I said, ""May Allah take my soul in service for your cause, the word Muhaddith does not exist in our reading. What then is the meaning of The Messenger, Prophet and Muhaddith?" The Imam (a.s.) said, "A messenger is one to whom the angel comes openly and speaks to him. A prophet is one who sees in his dream. Sometimes prophethood and messengership may exist in one person. Al-Muhaddith is one who hears the voice but does not see the person (of the angel)." I then asked, may Allah keep you well, "How would one know that what one sees in his dream is true and that it is from the angel?" The Imam (a.s.) said, "He receives help for success to know the angel. Allah has your book the last book and your Prophet the last of prophets."